There continues to be an odd atmosphere at Carrow Road on match days this season, which was particularly evident when we were leading against Preston North End for 20 minutes on Saturday.

It was a scoreline that would have put us clear at the top of the Championship table, but there was an eerie silence around the ground, which was difficult to explain.

Had we scored too early, without the chance of tension building up?

Was it because we had been set expectations that Preston would be a tough, defensive opposition who rarely scored or conceded?

And therefore we were caught unawares and were discombobulated at how easily Josh Sargent had got us off the mark?

Had the combination of bright October sunshine and unnecessary floodlight glare dazed our basic motor functions?

It’s difficult to pinpoint, but the ongoing question about why the crowd noise is so reduced this term, particularly in the usually lively Barclay, is still an unsolved mystery. I have been attending Norwich matches for 32 years, and in that time have seen many ups and downs, and yet there is nothing to which I can compare this.

There have been arguments that we actually need a mediocre season in the Championship to whet our appetite for promotion again. That the yo-yo status has become so predictable that return to the top flight is assumed.

Others have suggested that new faces should be inserted into the stands to get the crowd going, but I know people who had tickets on offer for Saturday and couldn’t give them away. And as someone who has been a supporter for three decades, I was still belting out chants and songs to try and get the crowd going; it’s just there was little enthusiasm from those present - young and old.

The Pink Un: Grant Hanley remonstrates with referee Dean Whitestone after he disallows Kenny McLean's 'goal' against PrestonGrant Hanley remonstrates with referee Dean Whitestone after he disallows Kenny McLean's 'goal' against Preston (Image: (C)Focus Images Limited +44 7813 022858)

Of course, it turned out that the early goal wasn’t an indication of how the game would finish, with Norwich recording their first defeat in 10 by the end of the afternoon. In fact it was when the Canaries went 2-1 down that the crowd sparked into life, and some interesting decisions by the officials also seemed to wake up the slumbering masses - almost to the point of apoplexy when we were denied a late equaliser from Kenny McLean.

It had been a game of misfires and mistakes, with Norwich trying a diamond formation which looked promising but seemed to shatter as the game went on. A stream of second-half substitutions didn’t have the desired effect, and yet we were so close to taking a point; if only the ref had been slightly less fastidious in his view over the tussle between Greg Hanley and a Preston player the moment before Kenny struck the ball.

There were lots of complaints of time wasting on Saturday, but that is something we’re going to have to learn to deal with in this division. We are seen as the big fish in this pond, so other teams will be using all the underhand tactics they can to try and get an advantage. And we were given seven minutes of added time after the 90 to make up the difference.

But we weren’t the only team at the top of the table to drop points, which leaves us still in a very strong position as we chase our third alternate season promotion. Yet there are so many questions still to be answered about the best formation and starting XI. Even Dean Smith, after the match at Reading last week, admitted to being frustrated at aspects of the team’s performance.

There’s still time, and enough points in the bag, for the team to settle into a rhythm and start to get some convincing wins under their belt. Whether that will also be the cure to the malaise of apathy in the stands, has yet to be seen. With 13 games played, we are sitting comfortably in second place. Yet we still await the magic that lights up a memorable season.